Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mylne, John (1611-1667)

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1160580Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40 — Mylne, John (1611-1667)1894Bertha Porter

MYLNE, JOHN (1611–1667), mason, son of John Mylne (d. 1657) [see under Mylne, John, d. 1621], was born in Perth in 1611. On 9 Oct. 1633 he was admitted a burgess of Edinburgh, by right of descent, and on the same day was made fellow of craft in the Edinburgh masonic lodge. He succeeded his father as principal master-mason on 1 Feb. 1636, and in the same year, as deacon of the masons of Edinburgh, was elected a member of the town council. In 1637–8 he was appointed master-mason to the town of Edinburgh. He designed the Tron Church in Edinburgh, begun in 1637 and opened in 1647. The spire was not completed till 1663. A portion of it was burnt about 1826, when it was rebuilt in its present form. In August 1637 he repaired portions of St. Giles's Church. In 1642 he was employed in surveying and reporting on the condition of the abbey church at Jedburgh, and was appointed a burgess of Jedburgh; in 1643 he was appointed master-mason to Heriot's Hospital, and continued the works there till their completion in 1659; in 1646–7 he made additions to the college of Edinburgh, probably including the library; in 1648 he repaired the crown of the steeple of St. Giles's Church; in 1650 he was busy on the fortifications of Leith, and in 1666 he commenced the erection, from his own designs, of Panmure House, Forfarshire, of which portions still exist. The town-hall, or tolbooth, at Linlithgow was erected from his designs in 1668–70 (Plans in Mylne, Master Masons, p. 240). He also made designs for a new palace at Holyrood, a plan of which (dated October 1663) is in the Bodleian Library, and for a grammar school at Linlithgow.

Mylne's activity was not confined to his professional work. He was ten times deacon of the lodge of Edinburgh and warden in 1636. In 1640–1 he was with the Scottish army at Newcastle; on 4 Sept. 1646 he was made by the king captain of pioneers and principal master-gunner of all Scotland, which offices were confirmed to him by Charles II on 31 Dec. 1664; and in August 1652 he was chosen by the ‘Commissioneris from the schyres and burghes of Scotland convenit in Edinburgh’ to be one of the ‘Commissioneris to go to Lundoun to hold the Parliament thair.’ He returned to Edinburgh in July 1653, and was present at Perth on 12 May 1654 on the proclamation of Cromwell as lord protector. In 1655, when a member of the Edinburgh town council, he was accused of having led the town into much expense by a constant alteration of the churches. He retained his seat in the council till 1664. From 1655 to 1659 he represented the city of Edinburgh at the convention of royal burghs. In 1662 he was elected M.P. for Edinburgh in the parliament of Scotland, and attended the second and third sessions (till 9 Oct. 1663) of Charles II's first parliament in Edinburgh. Late in 1667 he was in treaty with the town council of Perth for the erection of a market cross in that town, but died in Edinburgh on 24 Dec. A handsome monument in the Greyfriars churchyard, erected by his nephew, Robert Mylne (1633–1710) [q. v.], marks his burial-place. He is described there as

the Fourth John
And, by descent from Father unto Son,
Sixth Master Mason to a Royal Race
Of seven successive Kings ....

A view of it is given in Brown's ‘Inscriptions in Greyfriars,’ p. 248, and in Mylne's ‘Master Masons,’ p. 160. Mylne's portrait is given in Lyon's ‘Lodge of Edinburgh,’ p. 85, and in Mylne's ‘Master Masons,’ p. 133. His signature, as commissioner of estates, is appended to two letters, August and October 1660, to Lord Lauderdale and Charles II (Addit. MS. 23114, ff. 42, 62). Before 1634 he married Agnes Fraser of Edinburgh; she dying, he married, on 11 Feb. 1647, Janet Primrose, who survived only a short time, when he married, on 27 April 1648, Janet Fowlis.

Alexander Mylne (1613–1643), brother of the above, was a sculptor of some repute [see under Mylne, John, d. 1621]. He worked on many of his brother's buildings, on the Parliament House and other public buildings in Edinburgh. He was made fellow of craft in the lodge of Edinburgh on 2 June 1635. He died 20 Feb. 1643, it is believed of the plague, and was buried in Holyrood Abbey, where a monument, with Latin and English inscriptions to his memory, is fixed against the north-east buttress of the abbey church. In 1632 he married Anna Vegilman, by whom he had two sons and one daughter. Robert, the elder son (1633–1710), is separately noticed.

[Dict. of Architecture; Mylne's Master Masons, pp. 130–9, 146–8; Maitland's Edinburgh, pp. 166, 193, 282; Wilson's Memorials of Edinburgh, ii. 203; Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland; Grant's Story of the University of Edinburgh, i. 208, ii. 189; Ritchie's Report as to who was the Architect of Heriot's Hospital, p. 20; Monteith's Theatre of Mortality, pp. 13, 14, 64; Chronicle of Perth (Maitland Club, 1831), pp. 42–3; Nicoll's Diary of Public Transactions, 1650–67 (Bannatyne Club, 1836), pp. 98–9, 170; Lyon's Hist. of the Lodge of Edinburgh, pp. 92–3; Hackett's Epitaphs, ii. 12; Members of Parliament of Scotland, p. 573; Hist. of Holyrood House, pp. 68–9.]

B. P.